The cattle are comfortable in the shed chewing their cud contentedly, the sheep are delighted at the increased meal supply and the horses are looking out the stable door at the wintery chill in the air that’s leaving its icy touch on the tractor windscreen in the morning. And now the holly is on the door, the lights are on the tree and the candles are flickering in the window in preparation for the early dark arriving. Inside the fire’s crackling as the children place their stockings over the fire with hopeful excitement.
The perfect Christmas anticipation on the farm. The one time on the farm when a bit of a rest can be taken.
Of course, there’s never a total rest on the farm. The animals still need to be fed, watered, cleaned and bedded. (Indeed, if it’s like my farm on Christmas day they will get that extra bit of all, as my father believes even the animals should also get a Christmas feast.) Cattle will still need to be milked and sheep checked for any illness, and in some parts, lambing may even be starting. However, on the whole, most farmers I know will arrange it so that they will have at least a few days where they only need to spend a few hours a day at their chores so that they can enjoy some quality time with the family. And as there is often more hands around this time of year to lend a hand the work can often be completed a lot quicker as well. Work, like life always feels better when you have someone to talk to.
Unfortunately, this is not possible for many farmers around the country. With rural isolation becoming a bigger problem every year, and loneliness in the elderly a growing concern, many people will be left alone this Christmas, with no but the loyal dog for company. This is not only sad to think about but also very worrying for the mental health of people in the rural community; with one in three farmers feeling that they have no one to talk to about problems. Years ago, it was the Ceili that saved us from such phenomena, but unfortunately this tradition has mostly died out. I think this is huge shame. Recently we found my grandfathers diary from the 70’s. In it you could see the huge closeness of the community. There was barely a day when he wasn’t visiting neighbours or having neighbours visit him. And every job o the farm was shared by a group of farmers in the community, toing and froing back and forth from farm to farm. There was an excellent sense of camaraderie in those pages.
And so, we here at Agridirect we’ve decided to try and kick start the tradition of the ceili again. We are going to ceili with at least two households we wouldn’t normally visit, over the Holidays (preferably someone living alone) and we’re asking all our customers to do the same. If you’re willing to commit to it, we are asking that you visit people in your local area over the Christmas and share a story, song, game of cards, food or drink or all of the above. And in order to bring back the ceili we want you to share this blog and nominate at least two more from your friends list to do the same or to accompany you on your visit. The aim is to help end rural isolation and what better time than over the magical Christmas period when the nights are too dark to do much anyways. Then you can share your experience here or on our Facebook page and let us know how you got on.
And so here at Agridirect we sign off for another year wishing you and yours a happy and peaceful Christmas and a wonderful new year.
Merry Christmas To All.
The Agridirect Team